KALAMATA, Greece — Jana Strain began freediving in 2008. Just two years later, she can call herself a world champion.
Strain, a resident of Santa Monica, took home gold medals in both individual and team events at the Mediterranean World Cup in Kalamata, Greece, on Sunday, the final day of the two-week competition.
After posting dives of 49 meters (161 feet) with no fins and 60 meters (197 feet) in the free immersion event, the 28-year-old Canadian clinched the title of individual world champion by reaching 64 meters (210 feet) with a fin on her final dive.
“My final and winning dive was the best of the competition. I was completely relaxed and went into the deep blue with grace and comfort,” Strain said in a news release.
“This was a perfect competition. The diving conditions were lovely and the organization was flawless.”
The sport of freediving encompasses various aquatic activities that involve the swimmer holding his or her breath for an extended period of time. Competitive apnea, the activity Strain participated in at the Mediterranean World Cup, allows competitors a single breath to attempt to reach great depths, times or distances.
After first working as a scuba diving instructor and later, a dolphin trainer, Strain took her first freediving course in May 2008 and was named the Best New International Freediver by the International Association for the Development of Freediving. Last year, Strain set multiple Pan American women’s freediving records despite being relatively new to the sport.